A break. A heartbreak. Them’s the breaks. Or, to catch a break. To break through. Break out.
Not so very long ago, I had a break that resulted in me catching a break. The thing that looked, and felt, so very negative turned out to be a door closing (or slamming in my face) that allowed another one to open. Something I cared very deeply about, and friendships that I also cared very deeply about, were taken from my hands, but it left them empty to receive something else.
I feel fortunate. Sometimes we lose things, and we just lose them. We have to go out and look for something to fill that empty space. I was incredibly lucky that in my case, wonderful things just fell right into my open hands.
I still lost the friendships… and I’ve never been one to think that any one person can really replace another. We are not so interchangeable as all that, we humans. I remain sad about these lost “friends”, but I have also come to realize that people will, when given enough time or opportunity, always show you who they really are. I’m less saddened now about the loss of the specific people, and more disheartened that they aren’t who I thought they were.
Once upon a time, I used to both breed and sell KittyCatS. I co-owned a secondary market for KittyCatS, and I hosted auctions there. I worked hard to build the place up, was constantly thinking about things we could do to make it better, more fun, more inviting. I poured my heart and my soul (and my L$) into that place, and for two years, prior to having some very serious health concerns, I cared for the place and its renters and patrons quite literally daily. From the time I woke til the time I went to bed, I was available to our renters and patrons, every single day. Some of those renters and patrons became true friends, and I feel blessed that some of them still are.
I don’t say this to brag, and I don’t say it to try to imply that my partner, my co-owner, didn’t love the place, or want to see it grow and thrive as much as I did. She invested her time and L$ into the place, as well. She simply didn’t have as much time that was available to her to focus on the market; she couldn’t be there all the time. I could, and I was happy to. And then, my health worsened. I was put on powerful pain killers that kept me in a dense fog, or out cold all day. Suddenly, I couldn’t be there all the time, either.
Fortunately for the market, there was someone else who could take care of its daily needs, and the renters and patrons. This person was a valuable asset to CatTales (the market), an unspeakably valuable one, and I still appreciate everything that she did. Once upon a time, I thought that she helped out also in part because she was my friend, and she cared about me, but I was mistaken about that; nevertheless, I appreciate all that she did. When I started to slowly recover, though, and could be online a little bit more, she laid into me and accused me of essentially ignoring CatTales, and only focusing on my personal projects. (CatTales was having a hunt that was organized by this “friend” and manager at that time, but despite asking repeatedly for the hunt object so I could also provide a gift to our renters and patrons, she would not give it to me). She informed me that, despite all the time for two years prior that I’d spent showing that I cared deeply about CatTales, and all the time and L$ I had invested in it, that I needed to “pay my dues”, and then and only then would she reconsider our friendship.
Suffice it to say I was quite hurt, and I no longer wanted her involved in CatTales. I didn’t want her help, I didn’t want her presence, I didn’t want her friendship. (If your friendship is conditional upon what I do for you, or how well I “perform”, then fuck your friendship, by the way). I felt it was not unreasonable, since I was starting to recover, and on my way back, to ask that she no longer help with CatTales. I don’t do well working on something I love with someone who treats me poorly, or with whom I feel uncomfortable. Since I was the one who had invested half the L$ and all the time in to CatTales with my partner, and who I thought was my friend, I didn’t think that was an unreasonable ask. I never requested that anyone was banned, I simply no longer wanted them involved in the market that I co-owned. My partner refused my request, and insisted she wanted the other party to remain, after all, we should both be so grateful.
Gratitude aside, I didn’t deserve to be treated the way that I was. No one does. People can not help falling ill, they can not help that sometimes, Real Life has to come ahead of Second Life. I asked that, at the very least, I not have to interact with this other party, that she not come to my auctions, etc. She continued to be present. The environment became one that I could not thrive in, that I never felt was half mine anymore, never felt like I fit into. Still, for a while, I continued to try.
But then, the questions – the interrogations – began. Was I really as in poor health as I claimed to be? How was I paying my hospital bills if I was really that sick? I am a firm believer that people are entitled to share or keep private their personal lives as they see fit, but despite that, I still answered every question… only to have it implied that I was lying. “It just doesn’t make sense”, I was told. “It doesn’t add up”. I have to wonder what benefit I was getting out of it, though, if I had been lying. CatTales most often broke even when it came to rentals, etc. Sometimes, though, my partner and I had to pay out of pocket to keep it open. So, if I wasn’t lying so that I could slack off, but still earn money… what in the world could have been my motivation? I wasn’t accepting money from anyone else at CatTales, or asking for donations. So, what? What was I gaining? And then came the questions about my loyalty…
At some point, a friend of mine who runs another market had put me into a “staff” or admin role in his market’s group. I wasn’t aware that it happened, or I don’t remember being informed. (I might have been told; that’s entirely possible, but I was often still in a fog due to pain killers, even though I was improving). I was made aware of my role, though, when my partner questioned me about whether I was going to go auction somewhere else, or get involved in a monetary/financial way with another market, or help run another one. That was never on my agenda, at all, but no matter how I tried to reassure my partner, nothing I said mattered or helped. My integrity was already in question, after all, since she believed I was lying about my health.
Things eventually came to a head when, one day after what would be my very last auction at CatTales, my partner approached me to ask me what my problem was, and to inform me that I had offended “many” of our patrons at the auction, by making a comment, in jest, about “Wheaton’s Law” (which is, “don’t be a dick”).
I asked my business partner who specifically I had offended, not so that I could cause trouble, but so that I could apologize to them. She refused to tell me who it was that I had offended, so rather than argue with her about that, I contacted each and every person there, except one (the one person I didn’t want to be there), and simply asked them to please accept my apologies if I had offended or upset them in any way. Each person I contacted was entirely confused, and assured me that they had had a good time. When I told my partner this, she implied that some of them were lying, as at least some of them were the very people who had sent her notecards about it. At this point, I simply gave up. It had become obvious to me that, as I wasn’t “useful” any more, that I was no longer wanted, and that CatTales was definitely no longer half mine.
I didn’t handle the parting of ways very well; I lashed out at my partner and at the “manager” (to whom I apparently owed such a debt of gratitude that I should have just accepted her bullshit) in our staff Discord. I’m not proud of the way that I handled that at all, and can admit that I was wrong to lash out in the way that I did. That said, everyone has a limit, and by that point I’d actually been pushed far beyond mine, and had, for love of the market I helped build, and people I thought were my friends, taken a lot more than I felt I deserved or could tolerate. I can’t take that back, I can’t undo that, I can’t mend those fences. But the truth is, where my former partner and the other party are concerned, I don’t even want to. Them’s the breaks.
I kept mostly quiet about all that happened with my departure from CatTales. I didn’t want to cause a scene, or make people feel bad that they wanted to continue supporting CatTales, or further upset or hurt anyone. It’s been a while now, though, and every once in a while rumors reach my ears. Every once in a while someone asks me what happened. It’s a long story, and pointing them here seems easier than typing it all out each time. I am sure that I did plenty of things “wrong”, and made a number of mistakes. I can honestly say, though, that I gave my heart to friends I thought I had, and poured it into CatTales. I never meant harm to a soul, never asked a soul for anything, and always did my best to be a good partner, and a good friend. I’ll always be a little bit sad that I felt that none of that counted for anything, in the end.
These days, I no longer auction KittyCatS, or even sell the ones that I personally (still) breed, and I’m okay with that! I love KittyCatS, and think they are absolutely amazing, and breeding them just for the sake of putting together beautiful trait combinations is enough! The fact that I no longer wish to participate in the secondary market aspect of it just means that I feel absolutely zero guilt about hoarding every single kitten box that my cats produce. So for those who have asked me why I no longer auction, and why I no longer sell my cats, there you have it. I hope this puts your mind at ease about the questions of whether I’ve stopped breeding (I haven’t), or whether I still love KittyCatS (I do). I want to focus on the things that make me happy, and the things that I enjoy doing, rather than those things which remind me of losses. I want to focus on the ways in which I am blessed, and the things that I truly should be grateful for. Oh, and time is a factor these days, too. I did just land an absolutely awesome job that I love (remote/work-from-home). It’s nice earning a good income in your pyjamas, but it does keep you busy! ♥